WASHINGTON – Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., says he’s alarmed by what he calls the “extraordinary discretion” a pending “immigration reform” plan would give Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
His comments came Tuesday in a Senate Judiciary Hearing on an immigration plan by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight.” The bill would create a path to citizenship, among other strategies to provide accommodation for an estimated 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S.
Sessions thinks the bill would give the DHS secretary too much power to determine “how the law is carried out.”
He said he has “a great deal of concern” over how Napolitano would determine enforcement procedures.
WND reported Monday Sessions’ concern that the immigration plan – described by its critics as amnesty – would flood the nation with newcomers who would cause wages for workers already here to plunge.
His alarm was backed up by a Center for Immigration Studies report this year that shows “illegal immigration reduces the wage of native workers by an estimated $99 billion to $118 billion a year, and generates a gain for businesses and other users of immigrants of $107 to $128 billion.”
Sessions also criticized Napolitano’s ideological biases in constructing the bill, claiming she is more interested in meeting with special interests and pro-immigration groups than border guards and border union leadership.
Napolitano said she has spoken with these officials but have not actually met.
That, to Sessions, is “a very real problem.”
The senator cited a pending lawsuit by 10 ICE agents and officers against Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security as an example of the lack of confidence and low morale brewing in the Border Patrol.
Filed in 2012, the suit says, according to Fox News, the agents are being forced to “violate federal law” and that a new directive to border guards to release non-violent illegal aliens “unconstitutionally usurps and encroaches upon the legislative powers of Congress.”
The ICE agents involved in the lawsuit are led by ICE Council President Chris Crane, who has testified several times, including at yesterday’s hearing on the amnesty proposal. His testimony has highlighted alleged abuses of power by DHS and Napolitano against ICE agents for enforcing existing immigration law.
Crane and the other agents have received significant support from Sessions, along with Reps. Lamar Smith, R-Texas; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; and John Carter, R-Texas, who, in a joint statement, said they “condemned” President Obama’s “amnesty program” and declared their support for the ICE agents.
Sessions said it’s not how the system is supposed to work, adding that during all his years as a federal prosecutor, “I have never heard of a situation where ICE officers have sued their supervisor.”
The lawsuit, along with what Sessions claims is Napolitano’s political motivation, prompted the senator to say that he is “really worried about the vigor of this department … and your leadership.”
During the Gang of Eight’s debut of their bill last Thursday, Crane attended the press conference where, after he repeatedly attempted to ask Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about the plan, he was removed by Capitol Hill police.
According to the Daily Caller, Crane had held a press conference with Sessions earlier in the day in which he said “this bill will put the public safety at risk without a doubt.”
Napolitano testified to the Senate Judiciary hearing today in support of the legislation, saying that the bill will enhance border security and “help eliminate the jobs magnet” and almost entirely halt all illegal immigration.
She also praised her record of border enforcement, saying that “in over 20 years” of working on border security, “our cities and communities are stronger and more prepared” than ever before.
The 844-page bill allows for what some lawmakers are calling “an earned pathway to citizenship,” which can be obtained after illegal alien candidates go through a process of registration, paying a fine and background screening to eliminate felons.
The Senate bill has been crafted by the Gang of Eight Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.